Martin O’Neill remains hopeful of keeping Stephane Sessegnon at Sunderland.
The midfielder has been a huge asset to the Stadium of Light club since his arrival in January 2011, and he has in recent weeks been linked with Arsenal and Liverpool.
And although O’Neill remains optimistic of keeping Sessegnon as part of his Black Cats plans, he also admits a huge bid could make life difficult for him.
"We would like to keep Stephane - any manager would want to keep him," he told The Journal. "I would love to give a 'hands-off' message but I wish it was as easy as that.
"If I was to say 'You cannot touch him' then I might have to come back here two days later and say 'sorry'. That would be all bravado speak and then he's gone.
“So I couldn't give that sort of message. However, I definitely want to keep him at this football club. I echo the sentiments of all of us, including the supporters on that front."